Wanted: Long-Lived Smartphone Batteries

While smartphones are armed with an array of features like Wi-Fi, touch screens and integrated GPS, their battery life needs to be improved for users to get the most out of their devices, says research firm Canalys.

Recent consumer research conducted by Canalys, in several European countries, reinforces the importance of balancing features against power consumption. In a survey of more than 4,000 mobile phone users in March, battery life came out as the aspect of their phone with which they were least satisfied.

Another survey of 3,000 consumers in June showed that having better battery life than current mobile phones and notebooks would make two-thirds of respondents "more", or "much more", likely to purchase a Mobile Internet Device -- a device designed for web browsing on the move. This registered as a stronger influence than the inclusion of features such as GPS, mobile TV or the ability to make phone calls.

Usage Costs a Barrier

"Today, many owners are not making full use of their smart phone's features," said Pete Cunningham, Senior Analyst, Canalys. "Concern over usage costs is still a big barrier, though wider availability of flat rate data plans will help, and usability still needs to improve for certain applications on many devices," he added.

People are also wary of draining their battery and not being able to make calls. Battery life isn't helped by having GPS and Wi-Fi turned on, nor by having a large, bright screen for navigation or web browsing, pointed out Cunningham.

Canalys estimated that 58 percent of the smart phones that shipped in EMEA in the second quarter had integrated Wi-Fi, 13 percent had stylus or finger-driven touch screens and 38 percent had integrated GPS.

"But there is clear demand for those features and applications, and advances in battery technology would enable quite substantial changes in usage patterns, with all the service revenue benefits that would bring," he said.

This story, "Wanted: Long-Lived Smartphone Batteries" was originally published by Computerworld-Singapore.

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